As I mentioned in a previous post about baking Fiona Cairns’ Very Lemony Crunch cake last weekend, I was absolutely over the moon to get both of her books for Christmas. When I opened the books I was hoping and praying that the recipe for the coconut and chocolate stripy cake would be in the book. I had sat and drooled over Fiona baking this very cake on her TV programme a couple of months back. I particularly liked the stripy effect, the delicious and delectable sounding combination of coconut and chocolate coupled with the pretty rose piping effect on the cake.
My prayers were answered because yes, there it was on page 140 of Fiona Cairns’ second book “The Birthday Cake Book”. Now for a perfect occasion to make it!
Yesterday I was meant to be running a Clandestine Cake Club event for my local group, Knaresborough and Ripon. Sadly, that was not to be due to the snow and I had to make the decision to cancel the event. I had already made the cake though so in the end it became our Sunday lunch pudding much to the delight of my family who were worried they wouldn’t get any leftovers!
So, how did I try to replicate this stunning looking cake?
Here’s how I did it.
On Friday afternoon I set to by making the actual cake itself. Or rather you had to make two separate cakes, one chocolate and one coconut flavoured. They were sliced into strips and placed back together in stripes, sandwiched together with coconut cream cheese icing and then finished with a layer of coconut cream and then on top the pretty roses.
Two 20cm round sandwich tins were buttered and lined carefully as I weighed out the ingredients. I chose to use my KitchenAid mixer to mix up the ingredients with the beater attached because that is what I had seen Fiona do on the programme. Before I weighed out all of the ingredients I made a quick cocoa powder paste which was used to flavour the chocolate sponge part of the cake. This cooled rapidly as the rest of the ingredients were weighed out.
The dried ingredients (flour and baking powder) were carefully sifted into the mixing bowl, followed by very soft butter, beaten free range eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract. This formed a basic sponge which was beaten together until well combined.
Once this was ready I separated out the mixture into two equal halves. To one half I added the cocoa paste, the other I folded in creamed coconut. Both mixtures were carefully added to their respective tins and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. This is the scary time for me as I always forget to set the timer or I’m distracted by something else going on!
Half an hour later and the cakes were out of the oven and cooling on the top waiting to be turned out of the tin onto a rack. It was getting towards tea time and I was glad I could put the cakes aside to get on with our dinner of sausage and mash. At the same time I was getting cancellation emails and ladies texting me wondering if the Clandestine Cake Club event was going to be cancelled, so out came the red wine as soon as my hubby came home.
After dinner I carefully sliced each cake into five strips and exchanged them so that each cake became stripy. Fiona suggests putting one away in the freezer for another time, this is not practical for me as I have a small freezer which is always full! I had to use the cake there and then and make two of them!
Overnight we had had more snow but I still persevered with finishing off the cake. I decided to leave it cut overnight to settle, then decided to start on the coconut cream frosting.
The coconut cream frosting was creamed coconut, full fat Philadelphia cheese (nothing else gives the perfect creamy finish), icing sugar and some vanilla extract simply mixed together. As a huge lover of everything coconut I was so tempted to grab a massive spoon and dig in. It spread easily on the pieces of cake which needed to be sandwiched together. Once I had sandwiched the cake pieces together, the top and sides had to be dealt with. I can’t say my finish was perfectly neat as I didn’t have a lot of time.
The cakes were put in the fridge to make them firm up for an hour. In this time this was when I realised that I had to bite the bullet and cancel the event, so emails had to be written, texts had to be sent and phonecalls had to be made. As with Mastermind the saying “I’ve started so I’ll finished” sprang to mind so I mixed up the chocolate buttercream and prepared a large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle ready to make the chocolate rose pattern on top.
I really enjoyed piping the roses on the cake, this I did not find difficult as I am used to piping roses on top of cupcakes. It made a simple, yet effective cake decoration. I wish I could have finished the cake off with some white or gold edible glitter!
Here is the cake in all it’s glory before it was cut up and secondly cut up to reveal the chocolate and coconut stripes.
Love Sam xx